Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates challenged by Bradley Grobler of Supersport United during the 2017 Nedbank Cup Final match between Supersport United and Orlando Pirates at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban South Africa on 24 June 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Friday Aug 18, 2017. 13:00
AfricanFootball looks ahead to the opening round of South Africa’s 2017/18 Absa Premiership, with the country’s biggest names looking for a fast start in the race for championship glory.
Defending champions Bidvest Wits will have the first chance to put points on the board when they host Cape Town City in Johannesburg on Friday night.
The match pits the Clever Boys against a Citizens team led by rookie coach Benni McCarthy - his tenure got off to a good start with victory over Polokwane City in the MTN8 last weekend, but the champions will present a much tougher test of his tactical acumen.
The pick of the matches on Saturday is definitely the Tshwane derby between SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns, with the latter in need of a bounce-back victory after their shock exit from the MTN8, while the ‘second debut’ of Orlando Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic against Chippa United will also be closely scrutinised.
Moving on to Sunday’s action, Kaizer Chiefs and beleaguered coach Steve Komphela are in desperate need of a morale-boosting win away to Bloemfontein Celtic. The good news for the Amakhosi is that they are unbeaten in league matches against the team in green and white hopes since 2009/10 and have not conceded a goal to them since 2010/11.
Finally, the first round of matches is wrapped up by the clash between Platinum Stars and Maritzburg United, which sees former Botswana mentor Peter Butler make his debut in South African football. His Dikwena team will be put to the test by a United side full of confidence after their surprise win over Sundowns in the MTN8 quarterfinals.
Absa Premiership weekend fixtures
All times CAT
Friday 18 August
Bidvest Wits v Cape Town City - 20h00
Saturday 19 August
SuperSport United v Mamelodi Sundowns - 15h00
Polokwane City v Baroka FC - 15h00
AmaZulu v Free State Stars - 15h00
Orlando Pirates v Chippa United - 18h00
Ajax Cape Town v Golden Arrows - 20h15
Sunday 20 August
Bloemfontein Celtic v Kaizer Chiefs - 15h00
Platinum Stars v Maritzburg United - 15h00